New Regulations for Information and Audio-visual Operators Relating to Business Registration, and Mark and Trade Name Protection
On 28 August 2020, the Ministry of Information (“MOI”) together with the Ministry of Commerce (“MOC”) issued a “Joint Prakas No. 0256 on Business Registration and Protection of Mark and Trade name relating to Information and Audiovisual Licensing” (Prakas). The Prakas aims to prevent the registration of duplicate business names and deter unfair competition in the country.
The Prakas made it mandatory for licensed businesses and services in the Information and Audiovisual sector (Operators) to register their businesses at the MOC. The procedural formalities for the registration are as follows:
- upon obtaining a license from the MOI, all Operators shall register their business with the MOC within 2 weeks. The procedures and requirements for this registration are subject to applicable laws and regulations;
- the Operators shall use their registered business names in the Khmer language on letters, documents, signboards, and on all of their publications. The font size used for the Khmer name must be twice of the foreign language; and
- The Operators shall first obtain a permit from the MOI for any amendment or modification before filing a request to the MOC.
The Prakas stipulates clearly that the exclusive rights to the use of a mark or a trade name will only be legally recognised through registration with the MOC. This provision is a significant change from the past practices, where only a permit from the MOI is legally sufficient. Moreover, the Operators who do not register with the MOC and the MOI can be found non-compliant and risk legal actions from the relevant authorities.
In light of the aforementioned provisions, all Operators are required to comply with the Prakas within six months from the date of its issuance. This prescribed period may be subject to change, if necessary, in another six months.
This alert is for general information only and is not a substitute for legal advice.